- Northern Royal Albatross
This Cape Town Pelagics trips almost didn’t leave the
harbour, as the southeaster was blowing a hoolie inshore.
Our skipper Rob Lawrence contacted boats a few miles off the
point who had only 10 Kn winds and no swell, so we set off
for a pretty bumpy ride to the point, led by Ross Wanless
and with Chris Boix from Tropical Birding assisting.
There was precious little activity at the point, besides
a Southern Right Whale that breached a couple of times as
we moved past. It was also pretty quiet on the way to the
trawlers, but the winds were dying down and the skies clearing.
We found a trawler at about 21 miles, and it had a fair few
birds in attendance but had not yet pulled its nets. While
we were pottering around waiting for the show to start, we
got onto a big albatross. Rob followed it and it settled on
the water. As we approached it took off again and so revealed
itself to be a NORTHERN ROYAL ALBATROSS!
Soon after that, the nets came up and the birds came in!
We soon picked up all the regular species in excellent numbers,
and enjoyed a fabulous day for photos and close-up views of
some really great birds. Great Shearwaters were by far the
most abundant species – possibly indicating the start
of their pre-laying “honeymoon” period. Interesting
to note the low numbers of Wilson’s Storm-Petrels, which
are probably moving south in preparation for their summer